8 lessons in funding your own dreams

Uploaded on

My talk from Proto 4.

My talk from Proto 4.

More in: Business , Technology
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Be the first to comment
No Downloads


Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds



Embeds 0

No embeds

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

    No notes for slide


  • 1. 8 lessons in funding your own dreams Gaurav Bhatnagar Tekriti Software
  • 2. The beginning
    • On New Year’s eve of 2004, three friends holidaying in Las Vegas promised to do business together on day.
    • But It all really began with an innocuous comment on a blog post
  • 3.  
  • 4. The First Challenge “ Put up something – anything – that works and does something” Original slide removed for sake of privacy . Relevant text from email mentioned above
  • 5. The First Challenge
    • Here we were, two ex-MSFTies with no experience in web development or open source technologies.
    • But 15 days is a long time.
  • 6. We were in business! Original slide removed for sake of privacy. Relevant text from email mentioned above “ Wow! Coolio dude. Ready to start?”
  • 7. Lesson #1: Its not about the big idea
    • Entrepreneurship is not about a big idea. It is about grabbing on to the smallest opportunity and building on top of it. It is not about thinking, planning or funding. It is ALL about DOING!
  • 8. The First Office
    • At 400 sqft and seating capacity of 7, the first office seemed big enough to last us a couple of years.
    • (We out grew it in 60 days)
    • 917 Galleria has since housed 3 other successful startups (talk about good Vastu)
  • 9. The second, third and fourth office
    • In the first six months of business, we grew in to three tiny offices.
    • Then we took our first real risk.
  • 10. The first real risk We rented space for 36. But we were only 12 at that time. Not sure why we did that. But it worked.
  • 11. Lesson #2: start small, but think big
    • It is prudent to start small when you are bootstrapping. But plan to grow big.
    • Luck usually does favor the brave.
  • 12. The First Hires
    • When we first started hiring, we had no office, no website, not even a name for our company.
    • Needless to say, the first hires were braver than us to join this no-name company.
  • 13. Working with freshers
    • Our first 5 hires were all fresh out of college.
    • We had no money to hire experienced people.
    • Working with freshers has been the most enriching experience of my startup life so far.
  • 14. Lesson#3: inexpensive != cheap
    • Identifying and nurturing raw talent lies at the very heart of building a bootstrapped company.
    • What they lack in knowledge, they make up for it with energy and passion.
  • 15. Attracting talent
    • More than half of the first 10 offers we made got rejected.
    • In India, startups, especially bootstrapped startups, aren’t that sexy.
  • 16. Tekriti campus placement ’06-’07 Why work for a startup? Working in a Big company is like flying in a Boeing Safe, comfortable, predictable. Comes with seat belts and cute air hostesses! Working in a Startup is like inventing the airplane Unpredictable, risky, adventurous, pioneering Seat belts? Heck, there are no seats even!
  • 17. Tekriti campus placement ’06-’07 Why work for Tekriti? Create. Innovate. Invent.
  • 18. Tekriti campus placement ’06-’07 Why work for Tekriti? Wealth of experience. Wealth of knowledge. Wealth of $$$
  • 19. Lesson#4: Sex appeal is important
    • It attracts talent.
    • It attracts clients.
    • It attracts attention.
    • It makes you feel good (even when you are broke)
  • 20. Building the culture
    • The DNA of the company gets established in the first year of existence.
    • Our motto was simple
    • Work hard. Play harder. Make history.
    • Flexi timings. No dress code. Party for no reason. Being proud of night outs. Free lunches.
  • 21. Tekriti campus placement ’06-’07 Work hard. Play harder. Make history.
  • 22. Lesson#5: A company without culture is like a body without soul
    • It will not happen by itself. Building the culture requires hard work (but fortunately little money)
    • Every startup needs to build a culture that glamorizes hard work, encourages having fun and emphasizes on cost consciousness.
  • 23. Becoming a “real” company
    • Company badges and swipe cards
    • HR policies
    • Leave tracking
    • Status reports
    • Performance reviews
    • Sounds like bureaucracy but it isn’t.
  • 24. Lesson#6: Don’t take the “startup” thing too far
    • To scale a company, rules and policies are a must. They create a feeling of belonging.
    • Lack of policies creates fear and uncertainty in the mind of employees.
    • Beyond the first 5 employees, its not enough to say “as long as work is getting done…”
  • 25. Selling
    • We used our blogs very effectively. We were honest and passionate. And it showed.
    • We worked with other startups
    • We organized India’s first barcamp.
    • We contributed to open source projects.
    • We kept our first clients happy who made referrals for us.
  • 26. Lesson#7: If you can’t sell, you might as well go home
    • A bootstrapped startup starts selling on day one and it never stops. You sell before you produce. You sell before you hire.
    • As long as you can sell, you are in business.
  • 27. Doing services and products together
    • Conventional wisdom says its not possible.
    • We did it anyway. Twice.
  • 28. TBO is today’s one of India’s largest online travel consolidator with a strength of 150 in 15 cities.
  • 29. USourceIT is now VC funded with presence in both India and the US
  • 30. Lesson#8: Funding product dreams with services money is hard but possible
    • First and foremost, DON’ T KILL THE CASH COW!
    • You services business is your first born – don’t treat it like a step child.
    • Fix budgets and make hard decisions. The product business either stands on its own feet or it folds up.
  • 31. In conclusion
    • Hindsight is 20:20.
    • We made big mistakes and often came dangerously close to the edge.
    • All we can take credit for is having actually had the courage to startup without a big idea and any funding.
    • So in the end, there is only one lesson
  • 32. The only lesson
    • No body died of hard work. But several entrepreneurs came close!
    • THANK YOU!